1 Eagleton Notes

Monday, 20 October 2014

An Unhealthy Interest

The young couple who are my neighbours have now acquired two puppies and two cats.  They all seem delightful.  Well, as delightful as cats can be when they are interested in one's goldfish.

The solution that I had found to keep the seagulls off seemed unlikely to deter this curious chap.

So another deterrent had to be found

and this is it: floating plastic interconnecting grids which prevent  the cat from getting into the pond or scooping the fish out and at the same time preventing the gulls swooping down.  What's more for most of the time they can hardly be seen 

Thursday, 16 October 2014

Thankful Thursday: Every Cloud

has a silver lining.

It's over five months since I wrote the last post on A Hebridean in New Zealand and today is the first time since I wrote it that I have re-read it in full.  I don't think that I appreciated at the time just how much I would miss New Zealand and my life there.  In fact from the moment I arrived back in Scotland the idea of not going back was banished from my mind.  I think that I must have been having a severe dose of reality when I wrote the post and that my optimistic me was on hold for a short while.  In fact I think that until last week I was actually sub-consciously more concerned about my cancer than I've been since 2010 and, perhaps, since I was diagnosed in 1998.

Today's reality is that I shall not be returning at the end of this month as I usually do and, indeed, it may well be that I shall not return this summer (New Zealand's summer that is). But then again I may. For many reasons it seems unlikely that I shall be able to resume my Godwit existence but I'm more optimistic now about a return to my other spiritual home.

My cancer treatment has been under close review since I returned  and a couple of weeks ago I had a complete set of scans which confirmed that no prostatic cancer tumours have developed in my abdomen or chest.  So the situation is that my blood count is increasing rapidly but is still low enough for hormone treatment to be delayed for a while in order to achieve maximum benefit.  Apparently that is because I am quite fit and the treatment has not had an adverse effect on me in the past.  So it looks like taking any decisions about returning to NZ for the time being are still on hold.

However who knows what will happen in a few months and I am now back in an optimistic enough frame of mind to believe that I shall be seeing The Family again in their own setting and that I shall again play croquet on the hallowed Marewa lawns: perhaps not this summer but certainly the following one.

Friday, 10 October 2014

MV Loch Seaforth

The new ferry for the service between Ullapool (on the Scottish Mainland) and Stornoway (on the Isle of Lewis) is called MV Loch Seaforth.  The ferry has capacity to take 700 passengers, 143 cars or 20 commercial vehicles. The vessel was named after the Loch Seaforth, a mail boat that sailed between Lewis and Mallaig on the Scottish mainland  between 1947 and 1972.

MV Loch Seaforth (picture from the BBC website)
She was due to take up her duties in September. However there have been a number of problems at the German yard where she is being built and now it is reported that the yard (Flensburger Schiffbau-Gesellschaft) is on the verge of bankruptcy.  It is understood that an offer has been made by a Norwegian yard but if that falls through then it could be a matter for the German courts to decide and the handover of the ferry to it's new owners could be delayed and that doesn't bode well for the coming winter services.

Ah well.  We'll just have to wait and see.

Thursday, 9 October 2014

Citizen Firefighter

When I passed Glasgow's Central Station recently I decided to take another picture of 'Citizen Firefighter'.

The bronze statue named Citizen Firefighter was sculpted by Kenny Hunter.  It recognises the work of firefighters past and present and is in remembrance of those who have risked their lives and those who have made the ultimate sacrifice in an attempt to save people from burning buildings.

Less than three months after it was unveiled on June 17 2001, Citizen Firefighter became a focal point for the people of Glasgow after the events of September 11 in New York and became a place for many to leave flowers and tributes to the many firefighters who died in those events.

Citizen Firefighter also stands as a reminder of all of the Glasgow firefighters who have died while on duty.  Perhaps the first of those was Fireman James Bruce who, on January 15, 1832, fell to his death from a ladder while tackling a fire in the former Queen's Court building on the east side of Queen Street.